Eggs


Steamed egg is something I used to associate with bland school lunches at my bushi-ban in Taiwan. It never looked very appealing and was consistently bland. It was not until a friend took me for dinner to a very attractive Japanese restaurant in downtown Hsinchu that I appreciated the dish.

In between gossiping about her husband and my boss she ordered me a serving of steamed egg. I was a bit apprehensive I have to admit, but when the waitress placed the dish in front of me I knew it was going to be far superior to any other steamed egg dish I’ve ever had before. The color was a lovely pale yellow, with a silky texture, like perfect soft tofu. It tasted supreme.

I have since attempted to recreate this perfect steamed egg dish several times, but sadly my efforts have not come near the one I had that day. So instead of trying for a perfect and simple variety I started experimenting with adding some additional ingredients to create a small breakfast or lunch, resulting in this, my tuna steamed egg.

steamedegg2

For tuna steamed egg you need to find:
a steamer
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup water
green part of one spring onion, sliced thinly and some reserved for garnish
1 small chili, sliced thinly and some reserved for garnish
pinch of white pepper
1/2 tin of tuna, drained and shredded

The process:
Bring some water to a gentle simmer in a pot and cover with a steamer. While the water is coming to a simmer, mix the eggs, soy, oil, water, spring onion, chili and white pepper in a bowl. Divide the tuna between two ramekins or heat proof cups and pour the egg mixture evenly over the tuna. Lightly mix the two together, place in the steamer and cover, allowing it to steam for about 15 minutes, or until a fork inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy as is or serve with some fingers of toasted bread, dipping the bread in the steamed egg.

steamedegg1The fun thing about steamed egg is that the varieties are almost limitless. Instead of tuna, try bits of fried bacon, or strips of shredded chicken, or slices of plum tomatoes. Use some white wine instead of water, olive oil instead of sesame and so forth. have fun and do share your attempts!

whole toast

I suspect that this dish may be called a ‘toad in a hole.’ Why a toad I do not know and quite honestly it sounds a little gross. Nothing against toads of course, they are quite sweet if you see them lurking around streams and ponds and in jungles, like the enormous one we saw in Kao Sok in Southern Thailand, a real brut that one. But I do not want to associate them with my lunch.

So I will call this ‘fried egg in toast’, simple and terribly unoriginal but at least Alexander will know exactly what I am serving him when I say “We’re having fried egg in toast for lunch today”.

For our fried egg in toast I took out:

2 slices of toast
2 eggs
2 tablespoons crumbed feta
bits of chopped dried meat (I used South African biltong)
a small bunch of fresh thyme leaves
some butter for frying

Prepare it by:

Cutting a hole in the toast with a cookie cutter. Fry the circle briefly in some butter and set aside. Put the slices of toast in the pan and briefly fry on each side carefully breaking an egg into each hole. Let it cook until the bottom has set and then carefully flip the toast over, allowing it to cook for a bit to set the yolk and flip it round again. Sprinkle with the cheese and thyme leaves and serve with the circle.

broken toast

I left the eggs slightly runny so we could dip bits of toast into the yolk, cheese and thyme mixture. But if that is not your cup of tea you can cover the pan briefly to speed up the cooking process, it usually helps with setting the egg. Slide the toast onto plates and sprinkle the feta, thyme and meat over top, serving it all with cut out circle on the side. If you enjoy your eggs slightly runny you can dip the circle into the yolk.

Preparing this is real easy and the variations on what you can put on top is endless. Have fun!

huevos-rancheros

It would have been wrong for me to do my week of breakfasts without making huevos rancheros. I am, after all, hanging out in New Mexico, just north of the border of the birthplace (I believe?) of this hearty breakfast. There are several recipes for huevos rancheros, so I could not really figure out if there was an exact authentic one. I guess you can wing it a bit to your own liking.

What I like about this recipe is that it suggests using roasted green chile, which is very New Mexican. I’ve never enjoyed green chile before my first visit here and I’ve instantly fallen in love with it. I knew red chile, but now green. Red chili is fine, but green is fantastic!

For huevos rancheros with an NM twist you need to hoard for the sauce:

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup chopped and roasted green chile

2 cups canned, crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1- 2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

salt to taste

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I omitted this fav ingredient of mine as I forgot to pick it up- blah me)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

The rest:

8 corn tortillas

8 eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

2 ounces Monterey Jack, or mild Cheddar, grated (I read somewhere that for authentic HR it needs to be Monterey Jack)

Sour cream, creme freche or chopped cilantro (optional)

To make this excellent breakfast, start with the sauce:

Warm the oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and onion over medium. Cook until limp. Add all the other ingredients except for the cilantro and lime juice. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened. Add the cilantro (if using) and lime juice just before removing from heat. The sauce can be made the previous night and reheated before serving.

Next, heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a medium skillet, dip the tortillas in the oil, cook for a couple of seconds until soft, drain and arrange 2on a plate, overlapping.

Pour most of the oil from the skillet, but leave some to coat the surface. Warm over medium heat, add butter (1-2 teaspoons) and when foam subsides pour in the eggs, 2-4 at a time, cook for a minute while spooning over the butter, add salt and pepper to taste and turn down the heat, continue cooking until the eggs are to your liking.

Top the tortillas with eggs, sprinkle some cheese over each egg and top with portions of the sauce. Serve immediately, having each guest garnish with cream or cilantro if they wish.

huevos-rancheros-and-runny-egg

I made the sauce last night, refrigerated it and just heated it up again this morning. I was not sure about adding the cumin to the sauce, I’m used to it being added to Indian dishes. Alexander tasted it though and said it tastes just right. I have not seen it being added in any other recipes for this dish, but I will certainly keep on making use of it. It added a really nice additional flavor to the spicy tomato-ness of the sauce.

I’ve also never been a big fan of runny eggs, but I’ve come to the realization that it goes really well with Mexican and New Mexican dishes as it melds together all the other flavors and ingredients. This recipe is a keeper and I cannot wait to make it for my own family!

This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 4 people.

The past couple of Friday nights we’ve headed over to Alexander’s sister and husband’s place for dinner and movies or games, making pizzas, spring rolls, satay and other fun dinners. We always end up spending the night and having breakfast the next morning before moving onto a new project like baking cake or attempting doughnuts.

Last weekend I tried a new way of making french toast after paging through the latest issue of Cook’s’ Illustrated. For this Saturday morning’s breakfast I decided to steer away from looking for a recipe, but rather look at the visually stunning Simply Breakfast (I’m sure most of you are familiar with this sight) for inspiration. The first picture I saw was the one that stuck with me while I was looking over her pages. A lovely poached egg, served on a slice of toast. See the picture below.

poached-eggs-simply-breakfast

And so I decided to make poached eggs for breakfasts for the first time in my life. With the help of Julia Child. Alexander’s been reading about her a lot recently, and as his dad has several of her books on his shelves I decided to make use of her expertise. The recipe I used was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One and it made the process go smoothly. Even I was impressed.

I served the eggs one slices of multigrain toast with oven baked roma tomatoes on the side. It was the perfect breakfast to start the weekend as well as our week of breakfast. More about that later.